Digital Threat Assessment Toolkit
Digital Evidence

9.0 Reverse Image Search

Reverse Image Search is a technique that can be used to verify whether an image is “stock” or “unique”. If a photo of a firearm turns out to be a unique image, it poses a much higher risk than a stock image.

Image search is available on most search engines and allows you to search words, people, places, or things to find images related to your search terms. Reverse Image Search serves the same purpose in the opposite order. Reverse image searching allows you to take an image and ask a search engine or image database to find where else that image exists online (i.e., its source).

Tip: Caution (especially for law enforcement) – do not upload a sensitive or case specific image using reverse image search if it is not already sourced from the internet. The data retention policies do not work in the favor of privacy and Google may store that image.